Pacific theater in WWII should be on same level with European theater
Published 12:17 pm Thursday, December 5, 2019
Did you know that those of us who fought in the Pacific Theater during WWII were five times more likely to be killed than our counterparts in the European Theater? Why did this happen?
The main reason is that surrender was not an option for the Japanese soldier. This is evident in the kill-to-wounded ratio which, for the Japanese, was 18 killed for each one wounded. For the Americans, it was three wounded for each one killed.
The only Japanese to surrender were those knocked unconscious or wounded so bad they could not commit suicide. It was Japan who attacked us at Pearl Harbor.
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Then, why did the World War II Museum in New Orleans spend the first 15 years building the Road to Berlin before starting the Road to Tokyo? Why do we celebrate Normandy every year but never mention Tarawa, Tinian, Peleliu or any other battles in the Pacific?
Why has not the Runway Able, on the Island of Tinian, been made a National Monument instead of allowing weeds to grow in the runway? It was from this Island, and that runway, that the B-29s brought an end to the WWII.
The A-Bomb raids on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought Japan out of a barbaric society into the 20th Century where after WWII they became a very prosperous nation with USA support. We should never ever post an apology for the use of the A-Bomb and, when asked, should point to the millions of American and Japanese lives saved by not having to invade the Japan homeland.
I must speak out because there are only about 400,000 of us left from the 16 million that served in WWII. Our death rate is about 400 per day. This means that in about 10 years or less, we will all be gone. Who is going to speak up for us Pacific veterans in 2030? The answer is no one — that is, no one who can describe the sound of battle where the ringing in the your ears starts and never stops, no one to describe how it feels to see a Japanese soldier charging at you with bayonet in hand, no one to describe the feeling one gets when the wind breaks up the smoke screen generated to hide from the Kamikaze planes. And the smell of death will never disappear regardless of your age.
However, these are minor issues compared to those the Marines and Army had to endure in their battles to conquer an Island loaded with Japanese soldiers committed to dying for their Emperor.
I propose that instead of celebrating Normandy every year, we add a different battle each year to Veteran’s Day. It would rotate each year from the European to the Pacific for the selection of a battle. That selection would be made by the World War II Museum in New Orleans from a committee of 9 Charter Members representing all branches of service. This would honor all remaining WWII veterans plus add an uplifting spirit for the families of ALL deceased veterans of WWII.
It is just not fair to honor Normandy veterans year after year and ignore all the others who fought and died in defending our country. This proposal is not meant in any way to criticize European veterans. It is not their fault the media has selected them as the pinnacle of WWII battles.
D. Ralph Young,
Formerly of Stanford